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Sun, 17 Feb 2013, 15:32 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard





POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 53rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    7 Robert Hight                            4 Cruz Pedregon                
E1                   0.080  5.416 201.04     ****WINNER****  0.062  5.165 247.75
 Qualified:            #12  4.111 311.20                        #5  4.064 310.27
11:37 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 69 degrees, relative humidity 36 percent, barometer 28.84 inches, adjusted altitude 2,323 feet, track temperature 94 degrees.

Hight is 14 - 10 against Pedregon in prior events. This is the second time that Robert Hight has qualified 12th at the Winternationals. The last time he did it was in 2006 and he went on to win the race.

We start the round with a wild race. Pedregon is away first with a nice lead and then starts to spin the tires. Hight's Mustang gets just a little further and light them up even more. He pumps the throttle, but the car starts to get sideways and won't recover.

Pedregon strokes it just right and is back in front just before the 660 lights and pulls steadily ahead for the almost 80 foot win.

Cruz Pedregon's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.008), 330 ft(-0.339), 660ft(0.027). MOV: 0.2692 seconds (approximately 79 feet).


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  750 Del Worsham                            77 Bob Tasca III                
E1                   0.076  4.615 234.21     ****WINNER****  0.088  4.137 311.56
 Qualified:             #4  4.054 310.20                       #13  4.190 305.08
Worsham is 6 - 3 against Tasca III in prior events.

Worsham had made four strong runs in qualifying and got the starting line advantage off the line. Shortly after that, the slicks are smoking hard and the DHL team is done.

Tasca was right behind him at the green and puts the Ford power to the ground and makes his best pass of the weekend for the easy win.

Bob Tasca III's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.032), 330 ft(0.100), 660ft(0.299). MOV: 0.4668 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Bob Tasca III's incremental times: 60ft-0.936 sec., 330ft-2.374, 660ft-3.351/264.13 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    5 Courtney Force                        156 Phil Burkart                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.110  4.066 316.97                     0.084  7.183  88.37
 Qualified:             #1  4.036 318.24                       #16  4.640 208.84
This is the first time Force and Burkart have faced each other in eliminations. The number one Funny Car qualifier has won three times in the last 25 years at the Winternationals. This is Courtney Force's 3rd #1 spot in her last six races. This is Phil Burkart's seventh time as the #16 qualifier. In his previous six starts he has won one round and that was when he beat John force at Indy in 2005.

Burkhart gets a small starting line advantage, but the Mustang is out in front before sixty feet and pulling steadily ahead. Steve Pluger's Monte Carlo strikes the tires before the 330 lights and their weekend is over.

Force finishes the pass with another low four second ET.

Courtney Force's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.047), 330 ft(0.367), 660ft(1.403). MOV: 3.0912 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Courtney Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.904 sec., 330ft-2.321, 660ft-3.292/266.90 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    1 Jack Beckman                           22 Todd Lesenko                 
E1                   0.129  5.457 149.45     ****WINNER****  0.092  5.013 176.33
 Qualified:             #2  4.045 316.67                       #15  4.250 302.69
Another wild ride for both cars!

Beckman's Charger has a hole out at the hit and that pushes the car way out of the groove. He tries the throttle a couple of times and almost crosses the center line before finally giving it up.

Lesenko's Charger strikes the tires right after the sixty foot light and he is in and out of the throttle several times too. He keeps the car straighter and gets to the finish line first.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  782 Gary Densham                           72 Tony Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.121  5.023 173.21                     0.103  5.071 151.58
 Qualified:             #3  4.053 307.09                       #14  4.225 248.89
Pedregon is 25 - 8 against Densham in prior events. This is Gary Densham's 30th Winternationals and he has equaled his best qualifying spot with his number three position. He was also #3 in 2002.

Both cars are late off the line, but Pedregon gets out in front at first. The car starts to get loose and Densham puts a nose in front at the 330 lights.

Pedregon collects the car and pulls back ahead by the 660, as Densham's tires start to smoke. That doesn't last long, as Pedregon's engine gives up and Densham gets back out in front to stay.

Gary Densham's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.031), 330 ft(0.018), 660ft(-0.077). MOV: 0.0302 seconds (approximately 7 feet).

11:57 a.m. Pedregon loses the round and 10 points to the oil down.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   28 Ron Capps                               9 John Force                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.079  4.108 313.58                     0.081  4.119 313.07
 Qualified:             #6  4.073 311.92                       #11  4.108 306.05
12:12 p.m. Clean up is completed and we are back to racing.

Force is 42 - 24 against Capps in prior events. This is John Force's 35th Winternationals event and it's only the 2nd time that he has qualified 11th. The other time was 1979 his first year at this race.

We get a stellar race this time with a pair of Funny Cars side by side from start to finish. Capps starts with a small 0.002 RT advantage and then starts a slow but steady pull down the track. Force is slowly catching him, but runs out of race track first. Very Nice!

Ron Capps' incremental margins: 60ft(0.018), 330 ft(0.017), 660ft(0.009). MOV: 0.0131 seconds (approximately 6 feet).

Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.911 sec., 330ft-2.347, 660ft-3.329/266.06 mph.
John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.927 sec., 330ft-2.362, 660ft-3.336/265.95 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    6 Johnny Gray                           771 Alexis DeJoria               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.097  4.056 314.31                     0.107  6.255 107.43
 Qualified:             #7  4.085 308.28                       #10  4.107 302.69
This is the first time Gray and DeJoria have faced each other in eliminations.

Gray is away first and thunders on down the track to run the quickest and fastest pass of the session on a picture perfect run.

DeJoria is late at the green and then has the tires smoking before the 330 lights.

Johnny Gray's incremental times: 60ft-0.917 sec., 330ft-2.328, 660ft-3.279/270.05 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    8 Tim Wilkerson                        2814 Matt Hagan                   
E1                  -0.090  7.669  87.11     ****WINNER****  0.059  4.346 227.84
 Qualified:             #8  4.095 311.70                        #9  4.097 304.46
Hagan is 7 - 3 against Wilkerson in prior events.

Wilkerson double pumps it before the green and gets a big red light.

Hagan leaves hard and then slows down track in the easy win.

Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.899 sec., 330ft-2.325, 660ft-3.349/234.45 mph.

12:23 p.m. In Round Two: Force has lane choice over Hagan; Tasca over Pedregon; Gray over Lesenko; and Capps over Densham.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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